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article imageGet inspired by this mixtape of Tupac interviews by CrackTracks Special

By Layne Weiss     Jan 9, 2014 in Entertainment
New Orleans - Today I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Lawrence Parker, a chief player in New Orleans' hip-hop, fashion, and art scene.
Lawrence has been featured byReDiscover New Orleans as the "go-to-guy" for everything art related. Under the alias CrackTracks, Lawrence has produced music for some of hip-hop's most incredible and beloved artists such as Jay Electronica, BG, Curren$y, the late Soulja Slim, and more.
But Lawrence doesn't just focus on the established artists, he has given back to NOLA's hip-hop community by giving local artists a platform to showcase their talents. He is the force behind events such as NOLA Summer Jam and the NOLA Hiphop Awards, which have helped put artists like Dee-1 in the national spotlight.
He was named Best Street Promoter for OffBeat Magazine's 2010 Best of the Beat Awards.
Under his Supreme Street label, Lawrence Parker has produced concerts for artists such as Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Jay Electronica, and many more.
Lawrence is also the creator and owner of Traffic Boutique, the first locally-owned street wear store based in the heart of NOLA's French Quarter. Traffic is more than a boutique, it's a "lifestyle" and a central spot for up and coming designers, artists, musicians, lovers of all things art, and even skateboarders.
As if all that isn't enough, Lawrence Parker is the author of Live & Maintain, a book with an insightful take on how to enjoy the curveballs life constantly throws at us. Through his writing, Lawrence reminds us that even the worst things happen for a reason. Our hardest days are part of a bigger plan to lead us to greatness.
I met Lawrence Parker through Twitter. I had written this article about one of Tupac's interviews getting animated for a PBS web series, and David Silverberg, editor-in-chief of Digital Journal, hipped me to this totally awesome mixtape of Tupac interviews. I shared the link on Twitter, and Lawrence, who I didn't even know, retweeted it. We got to talking and I eventually discovered that he was the genius behind the mixtape. He produced it. He is CrackTracks. He took audio from some of his favorite Tupac interviews and created an amazing instrumental project.
Lawrence Parker aka CrackTracks
Lawrence Parker aka CrackTracks
Tupac interviews mixtape tracklisting
Tupac interviews mixtape tracklisting
I spoke with Lawrence Wednesday about his incredible project.
What inspired you to make this mixtape?
"Tupac is the definition of Inspiration for me," Lawrence explains. "It wasn't just his music, it was his knowledge, his struggle and his passion. I felt his struggle was like mine, as well as so many other black males around the world."
Who do you hope to reach with the tape?
"I hope to reach the youth with this project," Lawrence tells me. "I believe they are blinded by all the negative media that has been pushed [regarding Tupac]. I'm hoping they can finally hear the greatness of Tupac Shakur."
Do you think today's youth has enough
knowledge of Tupac's message or even his music?
"No," he says. "I believe the younger generation have only been shown or have heard sound clips and/or videos that's pushed by the media; all negative." But, there was so much more. He spoke his mind on more than just beef, or about police run-ins. He spoke on economics, family issues, how to treat our females, plus more. If you ask anyone right now what's the first thing that comes to mind when you say Tupac, most will say the east coast and west coast beef. That's why I selected the interviews that's on this project. I would like to do the little I can to help get his message delivered to the youth. And I believe his message will resonate with youth more than any artist that's out there now."
You told me Tupac is your favorite rapper. Has his work or character influenced some of your other works within music and fashion?
"Yes, I believe so. I try to produce music that has meaning as much as possible," Lawrence tells me. "Even within the fashion aspect of my life, music has a great influence; It's goes hand and hand. Most of my entire career in both genres have always been to help my people. That was Tupac's ultimate goal."
Have you met or worked with Tupac?
"I wish. I remember when he came to New Orleans in 1996. It was crazy! But I have worked with him in spirit with this project."
What Tupac song do you think best reflects the message he was trying to convey to the youth?
"Better Dayz"
What is your favorite Tupac song and why?
"That would be hard. But I would say my favorite song would be 'Me Against the World,'" Lawrence says. "This song represents the struggle of every ghetto community. But it has so much hope in it."
"The message I stress to make it stop: study your lessons, don't settle for less - even a genius asks-es questions. Be grateful for blessings, Don't ever change, keep your essence, the power is in the people and politics we address." Tupac, "Me Against the World"
"Better Dayz" and "Me Against The World" are two of my favorite Tupac songs, by the way!
Is there a particular line from any Tupac interview that particularly stands out to you above the rest?
"That would be, and I quote 'If you want to live this gangsta life, thug life... Let's stop being cowards, and have a revolution... but we don't want to do that... dudes just want to be characters, they want to be cartoons..... they just want to pimp our communities, and portray this image that they know we all can't survive and make it.'"
I was really surprised to hear that Tupac's feelings were hurt over Dan Quayle wanting to pull his album. I mean not the idea behind it in general, but the idea that he was hurt over Dan Quayle. I think people might be surprised to know that he actually did care about and respect the government. What are your thoughts on this?
"That's a great question. I'm not sure I would consider it respect, but I believe Tupac was just a smart individual," Lawrence tells me. "Tupac understood that having the government or Dan Quayle telling the people not to support his music or asking that his music be taken out of stores, would bring on problems that could have affected his means as a hip-hop artist and his vision - starting a political party. This was long before Vote or Die. In the track titled, 'Shine,' Tupac talks about this vision and his plans to start a party for all those that did not have a voice. That would have brought on a movement. So having a vice president working against you would probably prevent a lot of his community efforts from taking form. I'm sure he didn't want that to happen."
Are there any other artists or celebrities whose interviews you would consider turning into a mixtape like this one?
"Yes. I'm working on interviews for Sista Souljah, Jay Electronica and Huey Newton as we speak. So prepare yourself."
What can people look forward to next from Crack Tracks, Traffic Boutique, and Lawrence Parker III?
"Expect great work," Lawrence tells me. "I'm pushing the envelope on everything and everyone. More community events in New Orleans and NYC. Good music, great production, events like the Peace Tour Music Festival, and Traffic Boutique in Brooklyn, NY. Visit LawrenceParkeriii.com for more information!
Anyone who knows me or reads my articles can probably imagine my excitement over doing this interview. Truth be told, I was almost giddy to speak with someone so innovative, someone with so much passion about Tupac. Whether you grew up listening to Tupac (like me) or you're just starting to get into him or even if you don't really consider yourself a hip-hop fan, I promise you, this mixtape will inspire you. You just have to open your mind and your ears and allow yourself to be inspired! Lawrence Parker has created something absolutely beautiful. You seriously NEED to listen for yourself!
More about cracktracks, lawrence parker III, tupac interviews mixtape, tupac 1994 interview, Hiphop
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